Even though the Summer Olympics happens only once every four years and the hosting city becomes the centre stage for the world, this event in Brazil comes with a major impact on the environment especially in such a beautiful part of the world.
For Brazil, the timing couldn’t be worse since at the current moment the country is going through both a bad recession and political turmoil as we have all seen in the news over the last few months. Not to mention that all the construction was behind schedule for the opening ceremonies on Friday August 5th. But the games have started even though the environmental issues and the impact is going to be scrutinized by locals and the world.
It is widely known that Rio De Janeiro has polluted waterways and the oceans are so full of trash that it is a major concern for all the athletes and events that will be competing on the local waters. Particularly the Guanabara Bay where the rowing and sailing events are scheduled to be held and because of Rio’s lack of sanitation and sewage treatment facilities there are reportedly more than 1 billion viruses from human sewage in a single liter of water from the Rodrigo de Freitas Lake. That is essentially 1.7 million times the level that would be considered dangerous and people should not be going near the water in the first place especially when you have world-class athletes training daily in it. It is also important to note that most of the bacteria is also Antibiotic resistant and considered a “super bacteria”. This type of bacteria will cause hard-to-treat urinary, gastrointestinal, and pulmonary and bloodstream infections that could be fatal.
If the polluted water ways weren’t enough, then there is the Zika virus which started in Brazil and now is making it’s way north to America, in the state of Florida. This mosquito born virus that has spread throughout South America as well, is known to cause birth defects in women who are pregnant. The only good news with the Zika virus is that it is winter time in the that limits the amount of mosquitos out there but it is still a factor and some mosquito repellent companies like “Off” are capitalizing on it and selling lots of spray cans for athletes and spectators.
Golf anyone? Delicate wildlife in Rio is saying no thank you! The organizers decided to not to use the current gold courses in Rio but to build and new one that is dangerously close to a natural animal reserve called Marapendi where rare butterflies live and other rare animals. And some of these animals and insects are not found anywhere else in the world making it dangerous and hazardous to build a golf course with all the construction and thousands of humans so close to this fragile environment.
An endangered species, the Jaguar was being used as Brazil’s team mascot and it had to be shot and killed after is tried to escape from it’s handlers. This event with all the people and activities is simply not normal for this animal and obviously scared it and it reacted by trying to run away. Nevertheless, animal activists and people for the ethical treatment of animals have been blogging and reporting on the incident since it happened.
There have been several other environmental issues as well that have had a negative impact on the local area like transit systems that are not even ready yet and with all the people, services, supplies and other transportation needs, this will create more congestion, noise and air pollution from all the vehicles that will be needed to move stuff and people around to all the events.
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